Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans opted to protest the national anthem on Sunday in light of Donald Trump’s recent election as president of the United States.
“I don’t want to, you know, disrespect the veterans or anything,” Evans said, according to JoeBucsFan.com. “The men and women who serve this country, I’m forever indebted to them. But the things that’s been going on in America lately, I’m not going to stand for that. When Ashton Kutcher comes out and says we’ve been punked, then I’ll stand again.”
Evans said he did not ask for team support ahead of
“If this happens, then America’s not right, right now,” Evans said. “I said this a long time ago. When [Trump] ran, I thought it was a joke, and the joke continues. I’m not a political person that much, but I got
According to ESPN, The Buccaneers released an official statement following the incident.
“The Buccaneers are deeply committed to the military and honoring the great men and women that have dedicated their lives and have made great sacrifices to insure all the tremendous freedoms we have in this great country,” it read. “We encourage all members of our organization to respectfully honor our flag during the playing of the National Anthem. We also recognize every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American principles we cherish.”
In September, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced his intention to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality in America. Since then, many football players have joined him.
The response has been polarizing. Charlie Sheen, Spike Lee and President Obama have expressed support, and Kaepernick’s jersey sales have skyrocketed. However, stars like Kate Upton and Rob Lowe have criticized the athlete’s actions, the former stating that sitting or kneeling down during the national anthem is “a disgrace to those people who have served and currently serve our country.”
It has also been suggested that public hostility toward the protests at least partly explains the league’s lower TV ratings this season.